“I Tried Kevin Hart’s New Vegan Fast-Food Place. Here’s What I Thought!”
I arrived 20 minutes early for the official grand opening of Hart House, the plant-based fast food restaurant and brainchild of funny man and entrepreneur Kevin Hart. The hype was real, and when I got there an impressive line had formed. It was just what one would expect for any grand opening by this powerhouse comedian, actor, writer, host, and producer. Now Hart can add restaurateur to his lengthy resume.
Strategically situated in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, it is clear Hart and his team were interested in shaking things up by selecting a corner storefront in close proximity to other fast food eateries.
Hart House is fully vegan, offering a welcome plant-based alternative to the traditional offerings of such classic fast food joints within walking distance, such as the popular In-N-Out Burger. You could say this choice of locations is a brilliant move, considering the lack of plant-based options in the vicinity, and how close the new vegan fast food place is to LAX.
After taking in the joyful opening ceremony, I joined the excited people in line. The crowd was a mix of fellow vegans, plant-curious, and Kevin Hart fans, all of us hoping to try something new, delicious, vegan, and approved by Kevin Hart. Okay, so maybe some of us also were hoping to catch a glimpse of Hart himself.
Although Kevin did not make an appearance, the TinDLE chicken team got everyone excited by handing out T-shirts and chicken sandwiches of their own, allowing people to sample the competition. A bold move, but after waiting over 2 hours, the crowd appreciated it.
What to Eat at Hart House
The Hart House menu features things you would expect like plant-based burgers and meatless chicken nuggets, along with salads, shakes, and fries. The menu also promises to be healthier than most fast food, with all plant-based ingredients and no cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, artificial coloring, preservatives, or corn syrup.
The menu is created by Chef Mike Salem, former head of culinary innovation at Burger King, who collaborated with Hart and his team to curate a relatable menu, with better-for-you formulations.
With plans to expand to 10 other locations in the next 12 months, as well as food trucks and catering, Hart House is on track to offer healthier, more sustainable fast food to the masses. Hart is donating 10 percent of the opening day proceeds to Inner City Arts, a non-profit group that empowers children and teens in Los Angeles through the transformational power of art.
Here's What Hart House Vegan Fast Food Tastes Like
Famished, I finally made my way inside the brightly decorated eatery, which was full of good vibes, and energized faces. I ordered the Deluxe Crispy Chick'n meal with a secret menu side item called Frots (a cross between fries and tots), and an Oreo shake. Then for good measure, I ordered a Single Burg!'.
Perhaps it was day one jitters, but everything tasted like it had been sitting in the heater for a while. While it was good, it was not quite as piping hot or fresh as I would have liked. The burger itself had delicious fresh caramelized onions, and the Hart House signature sauce on it, which was flavorful. The American cheese had not melty, which is typical of most vegan cheese when not served immediately.
The Deluxe Crispy Chick'n was loaded with flavor, and I loved the fact that they kept the vegan patty thinner, so it retains the texture and crunch without being too "bready” and the Kale Crunch Slaw on top was really stellar, but it would have been better hot off the line. I really love the idea of the Frots, because who can ever decide between getting tots (my personal favorite) and fries? So when the cheerful staff member told me about their secret menu item, I was elated.
To my discerning taste, these fries didn't quite land the plane, which for fast food is crucial. They were neither fresh nor hot, so dipping them in the Hart House Signature Sauce was a must. (The sauce is a find.)
The true standout was the Oreo Shake, which I completely destroyed. It was delicious, the perfect size, and fresh as could be. If you are feeling thirsty, try the Tractor Beverage, a Chipotle staple, in the soda dispenser, offering Certified Organic, Non-GMO, natural unique juices and sodas, like Lemongrass, Kola Cola, and more.
Overall, I had a great experience chatting with my new friends but would like to return when they get settled and operate at a regular capacity, to give them a proper shot.
The Vibe: Vibrant, open, and laid-back space, perfect for bringing the family, or grabbing a quick meal before your flight.
Parking: Space is ample since you have the option of 2-hour parking in a designated lot, right on site.
Cost: The price point for a full meal: Expect to pay around $11 to $13 for a meal.